Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, , at sacred-texts.com
It will be seen from these remarks that many things have to be considered before one can form an independent judgment as to the exact view adopted by Sâyana in places where he differs from other authorities, or as to the exact words in which he clothed his meaning. Such cases occur again and again. Thus in IX, 86, I find that Professor Aufrecht ascribes the first ten verses to the Akrishtas, whereas Sâyana calls them Âkrishtas. It is perfectly true that the best MSS. of the Anukramanikâ have Akrishta, it is equally true that the name of these Akrishtas is spelt with a short a in the Harivamsa, 11,533, but an editor of Sâyana's work is not to alter the occasional mistakes of that learned commentator, and Sâyana certainly called these poets Âkrishtas.
Verses 21-30 of the same hymn are ascribed by Professor Aufrecht to the Prisniyah. Here, again, several MSS. support that reading; and in Shadgurusishya's commentary, the correction of prisniyah into prisnayah is made by a later hand. But Sâyana clearly took prisnayah for a nominative plural of prisni, and in this case he certainly was right. The Dictionary of Böhtlingk and Roth quotes the Mahâbhârata, VII, 8728, in support of the peculiar reading of prisniyah, but the published text gives prisnayah. Professor Benfey, in his list of poets (Ind. Stud. vol. iii, p. 223), gives prisniyoga as one word, not prisniyogâ, as stated in the Dictionary of Böhtlingk and Roth, but this is evidently meant for two words, viz. prisnayoऽgâh. However, whether prisniyah or prisnayah be the real name of these poets, an editor of Sâyana is bound to give that reading of the name which Sâyana believed to be the right one, i. e. prisnayah a.
Again, in the same hymn, Professor Aufrecht ascribes verses 31-40 to the Atris. We should then have to read tritîyeऽtrayah. But Sâyana read tritîye trayah, and ascribes verses 31-40 to the three companies together of the Rishis mentioned before. On this point the MSS. admit of no doubt, for we read: katurthasya ka dasarkasya âkrishtâ mâshâ ityâdidvinâmânas trayo ganâ drashtârah. I do not say that the other explanation is wrong; I only say that, whether right or wrong, Sâyana certainly read trayah, not atrayah; and an editor of Sâyana has no more right to correct the text, supported by the best MSS., in the first and second, than in the third of these passages, all taken from one and the same hymn.
But though I insist so strongly on a strict observance of the rules of diplomatic criticism with regard to the text Old mistakes in the text.of the Rig-veda, nay, even of Sâyana, I insist equally strongly on the right of independent criticism, which ought to begin where diplomatic
criticism ends. Considering the startling antiquity which we can claim for every letter and accent of our MSS., so far as they are authenticated by the Prâtisâkhya, to say nothing of the passages of many hymns which are quoted verbatim in the Brâhmanas, the Kalpa-sûtras, the Nirukta, the Brihaddevatâ, and the Anukramanîs, I should deem it reckless to alter one single letter or one single accent in an edition of the hymns of the Rig-veda. As the text has been handed down to us, so it should remain; and whatever alterations and corrections we, the critical Mlekkhas of the nineteenth century, have to propose, should be kept distinct from that time-hallowed inheritance. Unlikely as it may sound, it is true nevertheless that we, the scholars of the nineteenth century, are able to point out mistakes in the text of the Rig-veda which escaped the attention of the most learned among the native scholars of the sixth century b.c. No doubt, these scholars, even if they had perceived such mistakes, would hardly have ventured to correct the text of their sacred writings. The authors of the Prâtisâkhya had before their eyes or ears a text ready made, of which they registered every peculiarity, nay, in which they would note and preserve every single irregularity, even though it stood alone amidst hundreds of analogous cases. With us the case is different. Where we see a rule observed in 99 cases, we feel strongly tempted and sometimes justified in altering the 100th case in accordance with what we consider to be a general rule. Yet even then I feel convinced we ought not to do more than place our conjectural readings below the textus receptus of the Veda,—a text so ancient and venerable that no scholar of any historical tact or critical taste would venture to foist into it a conjectural reading, however plausible, nay, however undeniable.
Sthâtúh karátham.There can be no clearer case of corruption in the traditional text of the Rig-veda than, for instance, in I, 70, 4, where the Pada text reads:
All scholars who have touched on this verse, Professors Benfey, Bollensen, Roth, and others, have pointed out that
instead of ka rátham, the original poet must have said karátham. The phrase sthâtúh karátham, what stands and moves, occurs several times. It is evidently an ancient phrase, and hence we can account for the preservation in it of the old termination of the nom. sing. of neuters in ri, which here, as in the Greek μάρ-τυρ or μάρ-τυς, masc., appears as ur or us, while in the ordinary Sanskrit we find ri only. This nom. sing. neut. in us, explains also the common genitives and ablatives, pituh, mâtuh, &c., which stand for pitur-s, mâtur-s. This phrase sthâtúh karátham occurs:
I, 58, 5. sthâtúh karátham bhayate patatrínah.
What stands and what moves is afraid of Agni.
I, 68, 1. sthâtúh karátham aktû´n ví ûrnot.
He lighted up what stands and what moves during every night.
I, 72, 6. pasû´n ka sthâtrî´n karátham ka pâhi.
Protect the cattle, and what stands and moves!
Here it has been proposed to read sthâtúh instead of sthâtrî´n, and I confess that this emendation is very plausible. One does not see how pasû, cattle, could be called immobilia or fixtures, unless the poet wished to make a distinction between cattle that are kept fastened in stables, and cattle that are allowed to roam about freely in the homestead. This distinction is alluded to, for instance, in the Satapatha-brâhmana, XI, 8, 3, 2. saurya evaisha pasuh syâd iti, tasmâd etasminn astamite pasavo badhyante; badhnanty ekân yathâgoshtham, eka upasamâyanti.
I, 70, 2. gárbhah ka sthâtâ´m gárbhah karáthâm, (read sthâtrâ´m, and see Bollensen, Orient and Occident, vol. ii, p. 462.)
He who is within all that stands and all that moves.
The word karátha, if it occurs by itself, means flock, movable property:
III, 31, 15. â´t ít sâkhi-bhyah karátham sám airat.
He brought together, for his friends, the flocks.
VIII, 33, 8. puru-trâ´ karátham dadhe.
He bestowed flocks on many people.
X, 92, 13. prá nah pûshâ´ karátham—avatu.
May Pûshan protect our flock!
Another idiomatic phrase in which sthâtúh occurs is sthâtúh gágatah, and here sthâtúh is really a genitive:
IV, 53, 6. gágatah sthâtúh k ubháyasya yáh vasî´.
He who is lord of both, of what is movable and what is immovable.
VI, 50, 7. vísvasya sthâtúh gágatah gánitrîh.
They who created all that stands and moves.
VII, 60, 2. vísvasya sthâtúh gágatah ka gopâ´h.
The guardians of all that stands and moves. Cf. X, 63, 8.
I, 159, 3. sthâtúh ka satyám gágatah ka dhármani putrásya pâthah padám ádvayâvinah.
Truly while you uphold all that stands and moves, you protect the home of the guileless son. Cf. II, 31, 5.
But although I have no doubt that in I, 70, 4, the original poet said sthâtúh karátham, I should be loath to suppress the evidence of the mistake and alter the Pada text from ka rátham to karátham. The very mistake is instructive, as showing us the kind of misapprehension to which the collectors of the Vedic text were liable, and enabling us to judge how far the limits of conjectural criticism may safely be extended.
A still more extraordinary case of misunderstanding on the part of the original compilers of the Vedic texts, Uloka.and likewise of the authors of the Prâtisâkhyas, the Niruktas, and other Vedic treatises, has been pointed out by Professor Kuhn. In an article of his, 'Zur ältesten Geschichte der Indogermanischen Völker' (Indische Studien, vol. i, p. 351), he made the following observation: 'The Lithuanian laukas, Lett. lauks, Pruss. laukas, all meaning field, agree exactly with the Sk. lokas, world, Lat. locus, Low Germ. (in East-Frisia and Oldenburg) louch, lôch, village. All these words are to be traced back to the Sk. uru, Gr. εὐρύς, broad, wide. The initial u is lost, as in Goth. rûms, O. H. G. rûmi, rûmin (Low Germ. rûme, an open uncultivated field in a forest), and the r changed into l. In support of this derivation it should be observed that in the Veda loka is frequently preceded by the particle u, which probably was only separated from it by the Diaskeuastæ, and that the meaning is
that of open space.' Although this derivation has met with little favour, I confess that I look upon this remark, excepting only the Latin locus a, i. e. stlocus, as one of the most ingenious of this eminent scholar. The fact is that this particle u before loka is one of the most puzzling occurrences in the Veda. Professor Bollensen says that loka never occurs without a preceding u in the first eight Mandalas, and this is perfectly true with the exception of one passage which he has overlooked, VIII, 100, 12, dyaúh dehí lokám vágrâya vi-skábhe, Dyu! give room for the lightning to step forth! Professor Bollensen (l. c. p. 603) reads vritrâ´ya instead of vágrâya, without authority. He objects to dyaúh as a vocative, which should be dyaû´h; but dyaúh may be dyóh, a genitive belonging to vágrâya, in which case we should translate, Make room for the lightning of Dyu to step forth!
But what is even more important is the fact that the occurrence of this unaccented u at the beginning of a pâda is against the very rules, or, at least, runs counter to the very observations which the authors of the Prâtisâkhya have made on the inadmissibility of an unaccented word in such a place, so that they had to insert a special provision, Prât. 978, exempting the unaccented u from this observation: anudâttam tu pâdâdau novargam vidyate padam, 'no unaccented word is found at the beginning of a pâda except u!' Although I have frequently insisted on the fact that such statements of the Prâtisâkhya are not to be considered as rules, but simply as more or less general statistical accumulations of facts actually occurring in the Veda, I have also pointed out that we are at liberty to found on these collected facts inductive observations which may assume the character of real rules. Thus, in our case, we can well understand why there should be none, or, at least, very few instances, where an unaccented word begins a pâda. We should not begin a verse with an enclitic particle in any other language either; and as in Sanskrit a verb at the
beginning of a pâda receives ipso facto the accent, and as the same applies to vocatives, no chance is left for an unaccented word in that place, except it be a particle. But the one particle that offends against this general observation is u, and the very word before which this u causes this metrical offence, is loka. Can any argument be more tempting in favour of admitting an old form uloka instead of u loka? Lokám is preceded by u in I, 93, 6; II, 30, 6; (asmín bhayá-sthe krinutam u lokám, make room for us, grant an escape to us, in this danger!) IV, 17, 17; VI, 23, 3; 7 (with urúm); 47, 8 (urúm nah lokâm, or ulokâm?); 73, 2; VII, 20, 2; 33, 5 (with urúm); 60, 9 (with urúm); 84, 2 (with urúm); 99, 4 (with urúm); IX, 92, 5; X, 13, 2; 16, 4 (sukrítâm u lokám); 30, 7; 104, 10; 180, 3 (with urúm). Loké is preceded by u in III, 29, 8; V, 1, 6; lokakrít, IX, 86, 21; X, 133, 1. In all remaining passages u loká is found at the beginning of a pâda: lokáh, III, 37, 11; lokâm, III, 2, 9 (u lokám u dvé (iti) úpa gâmím îyatuh); V, 4, II; loka-kritnúm, VIII, 15, 4; IX, 2, 8. The only passages in which loka occurs without being preceded by u, are lokám, VI, 47, 8 (see above); VIII, 100, 12; X, 14, 9; 85, 20 (amrítasya); lokâ´h, IX, 113, 9; lokâ´n, X, 90, 14; loké, IX, 113, 72; X, 85, 24.
It should be remembered that in the Gâthâs the u of words beginning with urv° does not count metrically (Hübschmann, Ein Zoroastrisches Lied, p. 37), and that in Pâli also uru must be treated as monosyllabic, in such passages as Mahâv., p. 2, line 5. The same applies to passages in the Rig-veda, such as I, 138, 3; VII, 39, 3, where the metre requires uru to be treated as one syllable. In IX, 96, 15, the original reading may have been urur iva, instead of uru-iva.
Considering all this, I feel as convinced as it is possible to be in such matters, that in all the passages where u loká occurs and where it means space, carrière ouverte, freedom, we ought to read uloká; but in spite of this I could never bring myself to insert this word, of which neither the authors of the Brâhmanas nor the writers of the Prâtisâkhyas or even later grammarians had any idea, into the text. On
the contrary, I should here, too, consider it most useful to leave the traditional reading, and to add the corrections in the margin, in order that, if these conjectural emendations are in time considered as beyond the reach of doubt, they may be used as evidence in support of conjectures which, without such evidence, might seem intolerable in the eyes of timid critics.
There remains one difficulty about this hypothetical word uloká, which it is but fair to mention. If it is derived from uru, or, as Professor Bollensen suggests, from urvak or urvak, the change of va into o would require further support. Neither maghon for maghavan, nor durona for dura-vana are strictly analogous cases, because in each we have an a preceding the va or u. Strictly speaking, uroka presupposes uravaka, as slóka presupposes sravaka, or óka, house, avaka (from av, not from uk). It should also be mentioned that a compound such as RV. X, 128, 2, urúlokam (scil. antáriksham) is strange, and shows how completely the origin of loka was forgotten at the time when the hymns of the tenth Mandala were composed. But all this does not persuade us to accept Ascoli's conjecture (Lezioni di Fonologia Comparata, p. 235), that as uloga (but not uloka) is a regular Tamil form of loka, uloka in the Veda might be due to a reaction of the aboriginal dialects on the Vedic Sanskrit. We want far more evidence before admitting such a reaction during the Vedic period.
lxxi:a Professor Aufrecht in his new edition of the text (1877) adopts the more timid reading prisnayah. See also Brihat-Samhitâ, transl. by Kern, p. 2: Sikatâh prisnayo gargâ vâlakhilyâ marîkipâh bhrigavoऽaṅgirasas kaiva sûkshmâs kânye maharshayah.
lxxv:a On locus, see Corssen, Krit. Beitr. p. 463, and Aussprache, 2nd ed., p. 810. Corssen does not derive it from a root stâ or, sthâ, but identifies it with Goth. strik-s, Engl. stroke, strecke.